Dramatic difference in wildflower meadow growth

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  • FireFire LondonPosts: 5,383
    I think Jellyfire has given a lot of tender loving care (and skill) to his meadow.

    Articles like this one (and the comments below it) make it clear that many people think that a) creating a meadow is very straight forward b) is it the opposite of gardening. The comments below the Guardian line are full of loud moans that they left their lawns alone for several years, did nothing and now they have a mess.

    Meadow-making is form of gardening and takes skill, time and attention.
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 739
    Oh they do self seed, but nowhere in the same sort of quantities as the first sowing. Poppies in particular like disturbed soil, which is why they come up in cornfields. Still get them dotted around in it though, and I scatter some seed around when I remember. 

    You might end up with the same problem as me then, the office is far less appealing than the meadow outside it!
  • matt_fendermatt_fender Posts: 140
    edited 29 April
    Ha ha - yes, I read that article at the time and thought that simply leaving an existing lawn was rather an optimistic approach. I did a fair bit of research before planting my patch and ended up removing all existing turf by hand before seeding - quite hard work I have to say. I was tempted to get the meadowmat turf to kick things off, but couldn't quite bear the cost (a few hundred for my size area) but am under no illusions that getting this patch started will be easy. At least things are growing now (after nearly two months), and I think I have just about got a handle on the wildflower/weed differences (I don't have too many varieties of wildflower in this mix to ID, thankfully). Fingers crossed it will establish OK - it is already looking quite good in places.
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 739
    You’re right @Fire in that it’s not as easy as just leaving your lawn, but proper preparation of the ground, and a decent native seed mix and it is actually pretty easy after that. I do one strim and cut a year, clear all the clippings after a couple of days and that’s it! I also have areas of lawn that have been left alone for the same period of time, they don’t have the flower diversity and visual appeal, but the insects love it, and whilst that article is a bit misleading, there’s is actually a lot of benefit to just leaving the grass to its own devices too.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 5,383
    @Jellyfire ; I think the question of nettles, docks, nettles, couch grass, ground elder etc is fair. If one doesn't want a plethora of dandelions (I know there are advantages to bees) you have to intervene.
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 739
    Yep good point, I guess a lot of it depends on what weeds you get in the garden, and how much you mind them getting to the neater bits. I leave everything except nettles and thistles in the wilder bits, but the creeping buttercups and things do end up getting everywhere else
  • wendybeirne70wendybeirne70 Posts: 6
    edited 2 May
    I've tried for a few years now to grow wild flowers with seeds, I've used do many different seed mixes but nothing. I too have clay soil, one thing I'm looking into now is wild flower plugs, yes its more expensive but I'm hoping I'd have a better outcome than seeds. It's frustrating when nothing happens especially when you water and prepare the ground. 😬
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 739
    When you say 'nothing' @wendybeirne70 do you mean literally nothing, or just very poor growth, overrun by weeds/grass etc?
  • matt_fendermatt_fender Posts: 140
    I did a sort of hybrid approach, Wendy, after reading about how hard it can be to get things started but, in retrospect, I made far too much work for myself and would direct sow the lot next time. What I did was to buy my wildflower "meadow" in separate lots, with packets of meadow grass, annual flowers and an annual/perennial mix. I sowed the grass seed directly (after manually removing the existing turf) and sowed a big tray of small plugs (240 plugs) of each of the flower mixes. Planting out over 400 mini plugs was back breaking but they pretty much all seem to have taken - just some areas are growing much more quickly than others. Could be worth a try though if you are having trouble germinating directly in the ground, and much cheaper than buying plug plants directly.
    Here is my area, which is now nearly two months on from sowing - you can see the relatively lush area between the pond and the office. Pond is also new this winter and hopefully the edges will grow in over the next few months - but the birds already love it!


  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 739
    That looks great @matt_fender, will look fantastic when it gets some good growth going. Now I have seen the space, your growth difference could actually just be down to how much light one side is getting compared to the other?

    Just took two pictures now, same seed mix, same soil, about 20ft apart. The bottom pic is in full sun most of the day, but the top pic is only in sun for about three quarters of the day. They usually even out in a few weeks, but in spring the side that gets more sun always romps away much more quickly
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